Billed as Singapore’s ‘first full-length music documentary’, ‘Ignore All Detour Signs’ follows local band I Am David Sparkle during their quest to make it to the 2009 SXSW music festival in Austin, Texas.
First published on 29 Mar 2012. Updated on 29 Mar 2012.
It’s the first full-length feature for directors Helmi Ali and Razin Ramzi, who met in 2007 while working at local film production house Upsidedown Creations. After hearing about the band’s SXSW goal, Ali and Ramzi pitched the idea of making a film – and spent three months filming the band as they overcame numerous hurdles (including money woes, visa issues and more) in order to get to Texas. Here Ali, 29, looks back at the making of the film.
‘We saw some of I Am David Sparkle’s first gigs back at the Esplanade Outdoor Theatre – we didn’t know them personally before we read about their SXSW goal, but we thought it would be something worth documenting. At first, the band were wary and didn’t really take to the idea of us following their lives – they didn’t really like having the cameras in their faces. But after a while, I think they just got used to it. We also started developing an understanding and a friendship with them, just hanging out and following them around.
‘There were some intense moments. I remember one meeting where things had come to a standstill – their plans for getting to Texas were falling apart, and everyone was completely demoralised. It was surreal to be there, but not be able to do anything and not really be part of it; we were just there documenting it.
‘To a wider audience, it works as a snapshot of what it’s like to be in a band and the indie scene in Singapore. But we didn’t really set out to do that; we didn’t have grand plans. We just wanted to document a piece of history that we thought was important to a certain extent, and see how far it would take us.’
‘Ignore All Detour Signs’ shows at The Pigeonhole’s Singafilm night on 18 Apr.